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Coronavirus Thailand

6 million unemployed in tourism alone – a stark outlook for Thailand’s tourist industry

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6 million unemployed in tourism alone – a stark outlook for Thailand’s tourist industry | The Thaiger
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More accurate predictions are starting to emerge as the full impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak in Thailand start to become clearer, and we still don’t have the shops open yet.

Reports from the UN’s International Labour Organisation, in collaboration with the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, have already made stark predictions about the problems that lay ahead for the Thai government, and the people working in the immediate and peripheral parts of the tourism industry.

Up to 6 million people are expected to lose their jobs in the tourism sector alone as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, that’s in a country with a total population around 66 million. Tourism is a critical industry for the Thai economy that accounts for between 15-18% of the country’s GDP in direct income, and up to 21% when you include all the other businesses that rely on the flow of tourists.

Thailand’s tourism sector has overcome many past shocks – natural disasters, coups, a reputation for political instability, recessions and long-running protests. That Thailand survived these interruptions, then continued to thrive, gave Thailand’s tourism industry the nickname “Teflon Thailand”.

Locations like Phuket and Pattaya, which are almost entirely tourist-dollar driven, will be particularly hard hit without any other local industries to keep the economic wheels turning.

The Covid-19 crisis has come out of nowhere and completely short-circuited the demand and supply parts of the entire tourism economy.

“The magnitude of the current socio-economic shocks that come from the health and economic effects tied to the current Covid-19 pandemic are, however, unprecedented in recent history.”

At the core of the report, and Thailand’s tourism woes going forward, is the total collapse of inbound tourism. International tourist arrivals in January and February dropped to 5.9 million, compared with 7.3 million in the same months last year. The ban on international flights didn’t start until April 4.

The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce now estimates that up to 6 million people employed in the tourism sector will end up unemployed, if Thailand lost about 30 million tourists – that’s the current projection.

“The number of unemployed people could even rise to 10 million if the pandemic does not subside by the end of June.”

Tourism makes up 21.6% of Thailand’s GDP, according to the report, compared to Cambodia’s 6.7% and Vietnam’s 6.9%.

The report also warns that the tourism sector would not survive the pandemic’s repercussions without assistance from the government.

Over the past decade the tourist hotspots have been playing catch up to provide infrastructure and rooms to cater for the continual surge of more and more international tourists. The rise in tourist numbers has doubled in a decade, and that was more than double when compared to the decade before that.

But now half-completed hotels and condos are likely to remain unfinished and the rest of the country’s accommodation offerings will be battling for slim pickings for at least the rest of this year and probably well into 2021.

The country’s MICE industry (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions), already battling with the high Thai baht and uncompetitive meetings and convention landscape, will likely be almost non-existent well into next year. On a side note, the meetings industry worldwide has suddenly found a workable online solution that will probably remain a new normal in the industry and allow people to meet and compare professional notes without the bothersome flights, hotel rooms and drinks bills.

In response, the Thai government is already offering up to 100 billion baht in soft loans for tourism operators, who can also request for debt suspensions and interest rate reductions. But those debts will need to be paid off at some stage, a tough ask when the income opportunities are going to be so limited in the short to medium term.

There is no doubt going to be a huge pent up demand to travel again when borders start to open up around the world but governments will be tentative to allow fresh faces through their gates after the travel and tourism industry worldwide basically provided the Covid-19 virus with the opportunity to spread as quickly as it did.

Will insurance companies provide insurance for passengers to travel again? If the Thai government does allow a return of tourists, will then be required to go into a quarantine period? Will people have the discretionary income to travel when the world is mired in an economic recession? Will the world’s hard-hit aviation industry be able to recover quickly and re-open up routes? And how much will those airline tickets be, particularly if there remains health requirements for social distancing on planes?

So many questions lay ahead for an industry that provides 20% of the country’s earnings.

SOURCES: Khaosod English | UN International Labour Organisation

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Coronavirus Thailand

Despite special tourist visa approval, hoteliers remain skeptical about reopening

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Despite special tourist visa approval, hoteliers remain skeptical about reopening | The Thaiger

As news comes of the cabinet approving a special long-term tourist visa scheme, hoteliers are remaining skeptical about reopening due to the lack of clarity in the recent announcement, which will reportedly take effect next month. The president of the Thai Hotels Association’s southern chapter says more hoteliers will consider reopening if the government gives further information about the plan in terms of prospective markets, arrival dates, origin countries, and flights.

Such details would allow hotels to prepare themselves ahead of time to offer services as alternative state quarantine premises as at least 60 hotels in Phuket are awaiting approval to operate as such a facility.

Around 90 percent of Phuket hotels reportedly remain closed and are revising their plans on a monthly basis to ensure any future income will not fall behind operation costs. In Chon Buri, the Tourism Council says only half of the 200 registered hotels have reopened, with up to 20 hotels applying for ASQ certification.

Another issue keeps hoteliers on standby as most international flights are currently only operating at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport, giving foreigners entering Thailand limited options for undergoing a state quarantine. Apart from landing in the country’s capital, tourism-related agencies also have to find appropriate marketing campaigns that would target visitors willing to comply with the 14-day mandatory quarantine requirements upon arrival.

Areas outside of Bangkok will need special transportation allowances set up for those entering through Suvarnabhumi to be transferred to their end destinations without being exposed to large groups of people.

Otherwise, as seen in the North with only 30% of hotels having reopened-some with only a 10% occupancy rate, hoteliers await further details of the scheme which is reportedly set to run between October 2020 to November 2021.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

No new cases today- Covid-19 update (July 7)

The Thaiger & The Nation

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No new cases today- Covid-19 update (July 7) | The Thaiger

Today, there have been no new reported cases of Covid-19 in Thailand over the past 24 hours leaving the total amount of cases remaining at 3,195 with 58 deaths since the pandemic began. The number of recovered patients remains at 3,072, leaving 65 still hospitalized.

The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration said that of the 3,195 accumulated cases, 2,444 contracted the disease locally, while 258 were diagnosed in state quarantine facilities. The Kingdom has had no new community transmissions over the past 43 days.

Globally, the number of cases rose by 182,490 over the past 24 hours to 11.74 million. The death toll also increased by 3,884 to 540,660.

The United States had the most cases at 3.04 million, increasing by 57,905 over the last 24 hours and the most deaths at 132,979, increasing by 410 since yesterday.

Brazil has seen the second-highest number of cases at 1.63 million, up by 21,486 over the last 24 hours, with 65,556 deaths. India has the third-highest number of cases with 720,346 cases and 20,174 deaths. Thailand currently ranks 99th in the world for the number of reported cases.

No new cases today- Covid-19 update (July 7) | News by The Thaiger

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SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Over 73,000 Thai farmers to get relief aid after appeals approved

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Over 73,000 Thai farmers to get relief aid after appeals approved | The Thaiger

Over 73,000 Thai farmers are set to get much-needed aid after their appeals for financial help have been approved. The Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) says it will transfer the aid tomorrow, in the amount of 5,000 baht, to help with the Covid-19 economic fallout.

BAAC secretary Anan Suwanrat says the ministry’s appeal panel has approved 73,975 appeals out of 190,000- bringing the total number of farmers eligible for Covid-19 cash handouts to 7,596,747. He says 10,284 appeal requests are still being reviewed.

Of those rejected, he says the applicants have either already received financial aid from other relief schemes, were state officials, or were insured by the Social Security Fund.

The aid was initially approved at the end of April in the amount of 150 billion baht to help over 10 million farmers affected by the pandemic. Of those who were already approved, they are receiving a cash handout of 5,000 baht for 3 months starting in April, with the last handout set to be disbursed between July 15-22.

Thailand’s government has set aside the money to help farmers as part of its 1 trillion baht emergency loan scheme. It has also enlisted the help of the Royal Thai Airforce to help transport produce for the farmers who became unable to disburse their goods due to the pandemic’s lockdown and travel restrictions.

SOURCE: The Bangkok Post

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